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Starnik's Journal of AMAZEMENT
The Life and Times of a Dull Person
10th-Jan-2011 01:45 pm
Starscream - Starnik
I'm finally studying Copyrights this year! Here's an interesting excerpt from one of the books I'm reading.

"The granting of property rights in creative works isn't the only way to foster creativity. We could decide not to grant special rights to our writers, and trust that the good ones will be able to get enough money from public or private sources to continue their good work, either by grants or through tangentially related jobs (like playing the organ or waiting tables). But the primary solution our society has adopted, following the model of England and of the rest of the world, is to support the arts indirectly by creating economic incentives for people to create the works.

It's not a perfect system. There are probably many deserving works that for one reason or another aren't going to succeed in the marketplace. But how many starving artists would toil away at their trade if it weren't for the prospect, however remote, that if they make it big they will be handsomely rewarded? Since the odds of any creative person's actually succeeding are rather small, we have to make the payoff, if they're successful, sufficiently large to tempt them.

I call it the lottery incentive theory. If you make the jackpot big enough, a lot of people will wait in line to buy tickets, even if the odds against winning are astronomically high. And it's a relatively cheap system, because you don't have to pay off very many of the participants to keep them playing."
11th-Jan-2011 07:56 am (UTC)
Arts have always been subsidized, after all, whether by wealthy Medici patrons or kings or popes. The market seems to me to be another version for that, even allowing for a sort of self-sponsorship. Where it gets tricky is with those who create art for art's sake, rather than profit being the primary hope and dream. But I'm not sure I wholly buy the "art solely for art" argument either, since after all Da Vinci et al had no problem seeking out patrons and creating art that was deeply humanistic and challenging, while at the same time paying the bills.
11th-Jan-2011 08:20 pm (UTC)
What is interesting was that there was a paper in the RSA that looked at what motivates us to create, and put forward that its far more complex than simply fiscally rewarding someone. It cited Wikipedia as an example of people who will take time to create something, for free, and not expect any compensation. Now, a wikipedia article and a painting aren't the same thing, obviously, but the question arises is what does motivate someone to make the wikipedia article in the first place? Given that copyrights are designed to promote creativity, should we take these motivating factors into consideration when we're looking at overhauling copyright law for the Internet Age?
12th-Jan-2011 02:42 am (UTC)
Speaking as a writer, I doubt many who write would stop if it became forbidden to make money off of the process. There's an exhibitionist attitude toward art--look at what I did! That, I'd imagine, is a huge part of the allure. Look at fanfiction; there's no possible way you can make money off of that, but people feel the urge to create and to share nonetheless. Self-expression is the other side of the coin; people simply need to do this, in one way or another. Even if we're not writing novels or painting frescos, many of us journal, or doodle. Copyright seems like it should enter in when we want to develop those ideas, to own them, not just out of desire for profit but a sense of pride in what we have wrought. The copyright, the publication, the exhibit, etc, validates our visions and the identity that's trying to peek out via those visions.

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